Put your hand up if you like to receive criticism.
Of course you kept your hand down. No one likes to be criticised. To the point where we often hold ourselves back from doing many great things in fear of being criticised.
I saw a quote this week by Aristotle:
“There is only one way to avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
Criticism can cut to the core of our ego. It challenges all the false beliefs that we’ve had about ourselves. We tend to measure ourselves by the perspectives of others and when that perspective becomes negative, then OUCH! It hurts.
I’ll let you in on a secret, which is not so secret now. I’m a recovering perfectionist, recovering in that I’ve been in ‘perfectionist rehab’ trying to wean myself off being a perfectionist. One thing about perfectionists is that we love to be perfect…. and what does criticism from others say about our perfectness? That it doesn’t exist! Our illusion becomes shattered and it’s brutally painful.
It was for this reason that I held back from writing, speaking, and teaching. I mean what if someone faulted what I did? Heaven forbid! But the compulsion became stronger and it was a tussle between what was the natural flow forward and my ego holding me back in fear. The block was in my ego, so that’s what I had to work on…dissolving that pesky little thing (only it wasn’t little, it was gargantuan!)
Through my meditation practice I was able to slowly dissolve the big E and allow my clear fearless expression to shine through. (Mind you its not totally dissolved, there is still some there)
Sure, I get criticised. It’s going to happen. But now I see criticism as something very constructive. It’s up to you; it can be destructive or constructive. I find it useful market research that helps me refine what I do and become better at it. In fact, only the other day I asked my children to critique me as a parent. I sat them both down and said to them (true story):
“Hey kids, so I have never been trained as parent and this is my first time at it. So I may be doing things wrong or things that you don’t like. I’m still learning. I want you to let me know how you’d like me to change as a parent and what you think I could do better?”
To which they replied along the lines of:
“Nah, we think you’re doing a great job Dad, you don’t need to change anything.”
It was a nice to hear but I was seriously looking for some constructive criticism to help me become better at parenting. I used to really struggle receiving criticism, it was a painful experience. But not I welcome it with gratitude. It teaches me to evolve and adapt.
But coming back to Mr. Aristotle, and his quote. What would you prefer? Not being criticised and playing the small safe, game or growing, expanding and inspiring others while you expose yourself to potential criticism? You think Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Jesus, Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela were never criticised? The choice is yours and you have greatness within you to share with the world. So what are you waiting for? Share with me how you would like to share your gifts with the world below 🙂
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